(BY NGOZI ADIGHIBE)
The Rt. Rev. Dr Owen Nwokolo, Bishop of the Anglican diocese on the Niger has called on the Judiciary to rise up to the occasion, shun corruption at all levels and refuse to allow democracy to fail in Nigeria.
While delivering his Bishop’s charge to the 1st Session of the 31st Synod held at Ascension Anglican Church, Idemili North LGA in Anambra state, the Bishop urged the Judiciary to be courageous and take a firm stand against corruption. He further called on the 9th National Assembly to revisit the recommendations of the national conference and restructure Nigeria.
He said Nigeria remains a nation in distress, with political offices becoming sources of wealth for the privileged few on whom the people have deposited their democratic trust, and appointments have become lopsided along ethnic lines. He urged the federal government to checkmate without delay the activities of the Fulani herdsmen to prevent reprisal attacks from affected communities and called on the administration to reduce the high rate of unemployment by siting more industries in urban and rural areas of the country.
Speaking on the theme for the Synod, “Stand firm in faith”, Bishop Nwokolo said there is need for the Church, as well as individual Christians to brace up to the present challenges, take their stand and defend their beliefs; because according to him, discipleship without a cost is not real discipleship. The Bishop said there have been direct attacks on the Christian faith and the world today has become increasingly challenging for Christians with the influx of strange gospel and false doctrines, such as same sex marriage, sodomy and the likes. The cleric opined that Christianity stands as the only hope for the salvation of mankind and therefore, he charged believers to come out from their hiding places and face this Christian race squarely, giving no room to slackness, fear or compromise.
Quoting profusely from the Scriptures, the Bishop explained that standing firm in the faith is to be true to what one believes; having absolute unshakeable confidence in God, believing the gospel and reliance on the atonement by Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension and hope in His second coming. He encouraged Christians to be alert to the wiles of the devil and not be careless, indifferent or easily deceived. He said they should be consistent and live a balanced life, for there is always a roaring lion seeking to weaken their faith. Lastly, the Bishop of on the Niger diocese charged Christians to not hide their faith in a bid to curry favour or political power, and endeavor to back up their beliefs with positive action, including teaching others the true gospel and raising men and women who will set their homes in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments. Bishop Nwokolo said, “The light of the gospel must not be quenched in our time; we must play our part to solidly promote the cause of the kingdom of God in our generation and the effect of this must not only be seen in our lives, but in that of our children and in generations yet unborn.”